Gibson v. East Alabama Medical Center
OPINION. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 7/2/15. (djy, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, EASTERN DIVISION
EAST ALABAMA MEDICAL
CIVIL ACTION NO.
This case is currently before the court on plaintiff
Gibson’s claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),
29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219.1
Based on the evidence presented
at a hearing on July 1, 2015, and for the reasons that
follow, the motion will be granted and the settlement
1. Gibson also brought a claim under the Family and
Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654, based on her
The parties resolved this claim in a
Because the FLSA was enacted to protect workers from
the poor wages and long hours that can result from great
inequalities in bargaining power between employers and
except in two narrow circumstances, are generally not
contract or settlement.
Brooklyn Savings Bank v. O'Neil,
324 U.S. 697, 706 (1945).
The first exception is that
the Secretary of Labor may supervise the payment of back
wages to employees; employees who accept such payments
waive their rights to bring suits for liquidated damages,
provided the employer pays the back amount in full.
States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1352–53 (11th Cir. 1982).
The second route to a FLSA settlement, and the one
that is applicable here, occurs when an employee brings a
private action for back wages under 29 U.S.C § 216(b),
the employee and employer present a proposed settlement
to the district court, and the district court reviews the
settlement and enters “a stipulated judgment” based on
(“Settlements may be permissible in the context of a suit
provides some assurance of an adversarial context.
employees are likely to be represented by an attorney who
can protect their rights under the statute.
settlement is more likely
waiver of statutory rights brought about by an employer's
In reviewing a settlement of a FLSA private claim, a
court must “scrutiniz[e] the settlement for fairness,”
id. at 1353, and determine that the settlement is a “fair
and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute over
Id. at 1355.
“If a settlement in an
employee FLSA suit does reflect a reasonable compromise
over issues, such as FLSA coverage or computation of back
wages, that are actually in dispute[,] ... the district
court [may] approve the settlement in order to promote
the policy of encouraging settlement of litigation.”
at 13542; see also Stalnaker v. Novar Corp., 293 F. Supp.
2d 1260, 1262-63 (M.D. Ala. 2003) (Thompson, J.).
In this case, Gibson claimed that she was denied
overtime pay for working before her shift started and
Specifically, Gibson worked over 500 lunches,
The parties settled this claim for $ 4,400.
this $ 4,400, Gibson will receive $ 3,000 and her counsel
$ 1,000 in attorney’s fees
and $ 400 in
2. In Lynn's Food Stores, the proposed compromise
came not from an employee lawsuit, but rather from an
attempt by an employer to “settle” backpay claims because
of a pending investigation by the Secretary of Labor;
the court disallowed the “compromise” because it was
bargaining position against which the FLSA was designed
to protect. 679 F.2d at 1355.
Gibson will also receive $ 100 for her FMLA
retaliation claim, which is not before this court.
supra note 1.
settlement agreement at the July 1 hearing, the court
concludes that the settlement is a fair and reasonable
resolution of this case.
There are bona fide disputes
over FLSA provisions, including whether Gibson was exempt
under the statute, whether she is entitled to recover
liquidated damages, and whether her claims are barred by
the statute of limitations.
as all parties
agree, the $ 3,000 is reasonable compensation for the
hours that she worked during her lunch break for which
she originally was not compensated.
Based on the settlement, the parties have stipulated
to a judgment dismissing this case.
That judgment will
DONE, this the 2nd day of July, 2015.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson___
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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